On Wednesday April 4, 2012, The Grand Concourse's grandest landmark, The Andrew Freedman home, opened its doors to the
public for No Longer Empty's This Side of Paradise public art exhibition, hosted by the Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens Council.
Originally constructed as a retirement home for the formerly wealthy, The Andrew Freedman home has remained mostly vacant since 1983, leaving the majority of Bronx residents oblivious to
its existence. Cue No Longer Empty. No Longer Empty is a non-profit organization whose mission is to "widen the
audience for contemporary art by presenting high-caliber, site-specific public art exhibitions in the heart of communities," and their This Side of Paradise did exactly that.
With thirty-two visual artists and five community organizations commiting to the project, the exhibit occupies three levels of the Andrew Freedman home, and brings a completely immersive
art experience to The BX!
From watching Cope2 bomb the exterior wall of the mansion and the amazing Bronx Documentary Center installation of the late Tim Hetherington's video
installation Diary to Bobby Sanabria and Ascension's live Latin Jazz performance, there was something for everyone and the ecletic crowd of hundreds proved it. The exhibit's
audience was made up of current and former Bronxites, Upper East Siders, Williamsburg Hipsters, and everyone in between!
Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens Council also used the exhibit's opening to launch The Andrew Freedman home's newly constructed ten room Bed &
Breakfast! The event also served as a speakeasy fundrasier, a steadfast mission to convert The Andrew Freedman Home's Billiards room into a 1930's style speakeasy complete with live
music and special events. French Liqueur Company, Saint Germain, sponsored the event with signature cocktails while beer was provided by, none other than, Brooklyn Lager.
The cocktails were a refreshing treat but the choice of beer was a clear indication that this amazing event is hosted by non-Bronxites, albeit individuals who see the value and potential
within our community.
The opening reception for This Side of Paradise marked the largest opening art reception we have ever seen in The Bronx and made two things clear: (1) People are willing to
travel above 125th St if they have good reason to and (2) The Bronx is still a force to be reckoned with.
Whether you're an art fan or not, as a Bronxite, This Side of Paradise, is an experience meant to unify The Andrew Freedman Home's past with our borough's present, and it should be
experienced by every and anyone who has ever called the Bronx home. So, tell a friend to tell a friend, again and again!!
No Longer Empty's This Side of Paradise runs from now until June 5, 2012. Exhibition hours are from Thursday to Sunday, 1 PM to 7 PM. Hours will be extended hours
for special events. Visit www.nolongerempty.org for more details.